I SHOULD probably get a prize for the number of times I’ve told my football-loving son that he “may” have been born in the same room as David Beckham. 

Okay, it’s a long shot and unlikely to have any bearing on my son’s future footballing prowess, but at least it adds a modicum of glamour to an otherwise uninspiring entry point into the world: Whipps Cross Hospital.

Like Beckham, all three of my babies took their first breath in Whipps’ maternity department. 

While the environs may look like something from a post-apocalyptic steam-punk movie – a mash-up of tatty Victoriana, cheap Seventies fill-in, car park hilarity, and that interminable main corridor – I’m a firm supporter.

Whipps may not be pretty, but I swear, there’s magic within those walls.

It’s a magic I felt most keenly a year ago, when faced with an ordeal that no mother wants.

My third pregnancy - supposed to be my easiest, given I’d already been around the block twice - became a medical nightmare when I developed a life-threatening obstetric complication called Placenta Previa. 

In the end, my youngestMy son was delivered by emergency C-section at only thirty weeks gestation.

He was whisked away in large, scary incubator, before I even got to look at him.

The fact that we are both thriving now is testament to the effort and skill of the maternity team that surrounded me in those final weeks.

From the nurses who washed my face and gave me sips of water when I was completely incapacitated, to the fifteen-strong delivery team of consultants, anaesthetist and midwives, to the fantastically supportive staff of the Special Care Baby Unit.

Together, they gave my baby and me the chance to live, so I feel rather indebted.

I’m not saying my experience was perfect. 

There were mess-ups with appointments, lots of long waits on hard chairs (chair comfort - it’s a big deal to pregnant women), and questionable sanitation in the toilets. The food sucked and the post-natal care was iffy.

Oh, and there was the small matter of Barts Trust going into special measures while I was an in-patient…

But, while it would be great to have shiny, modern facilities and gourmet meals, primed by speedy access to top treatment and brilliant aftercare, in these sad times of bare bones NHS, I’m just grateful the staff are willing to keep at it. 

I’ll never forget the midwife who held my hand as they wheeled me to the operating theatre or the paramedic who scooped me off the floor after I’d haemorrhaged two litres of blood. 

Their faces are emblazoned on my mind. 

Yet I’m quite aware that, to them, I’m just another face in the crowd. While I sit here, cuddling my miracle baby and writing this, they’re out there, saving the next life – with or without decent working conditions.

Quite frankly, I doff my hat.